Washington — U.S. firearms makers have posted profits of more than $1 billion from the sale of AR-15-style rifles in the last decade, and for two companies those profits have tripled in the last three years, according to a new report. House investigation released Wednesday.
Those gains have come as those weapons have been used in mass shootings that have horrified the country, including one that left 10 dead at a supermarket in Buffalo and another in which 19 children were slaughtered in Uvalde, Texas.
Such weapons are often promoted to young men as a way to prove their masculinity, the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee said.RELATED
Some ads mimic the imagery of popular first-person shooter video games. Others claim that the weapons will place buyers “at the top of the testosterone food chain.”
Those promotional tactics are “deeply disturbing, exploitative and reckless,” said Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney. “Plainly, the gun industry is profiting from the blood of innocent Americans.”
Gunmakers, on the other hand, said AR-15s are responsible for a small portion of gun killings, and that the blame should be placed on the attackers and not their guns.
“What we saw in Uvalde, Buffalo and Highland Park was pure evil,” said Marty Daniels, CEO of Daniel Defense, the company that made the gun used in Texas. “The cruelty of the killers who committed these acts is immeasurable and deeply disturbing to me, my family, my employees and millions of Americans across the country.”
However, he later added in his testimony before the commission, “I think these murders are local problems that need to be solved locally.”
Gun violence peaked in 2020, but recent statistics indicate it is down this year in many cities.
They even tripled their income
The commission chaired by Maloney focused the investigation on five major manufacturers and concluded that they made a combined total of more than $1 billion in the last 10 years from the sale of AR-15-type semi-automatic rifles, which are styled after military weapons. The earnings were released ahead of a commission hearing to examine the advertising and sale of firearms, which have gained notoriety for their use in shootings.
Two of those companies have tripled their profits in the past three years, the commission says. Daniel Defense, the company that produced the rifle used in Uvalde, increased its profits from $40 million in 2019 to more than $120 million last year. The company sells weapons like the one used in that massacre on credit and advertises in its advertising that financing can be approved “in seconds.”
Salvador Ramos, accused of the Uvalde massacre, began buying weapons and ammunition when he turned 18, eventually spending more than $5,000 on two AR-type rifles, ammunition and other equipment in the days leading up to the massacre, police have reported. authorities.
Meanwhile, Sturm, Ruger & Co.’s gross receipts nearly tripled from 2019, from $39 million to $103 million, while Smith and Wesson reported that its revenue from long guns doubled from 2019 to 2021. weapons, the commission said, do not collect or analyze safety data related to firearms.
The increase in revenue comes against the backdrop of historic overall increases in gun sales, which coincided with the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Some 8.5 million people bought guns for the first time in 2020, Republican Rep. Jody Hice said. He added that “the American people have a right to own guns.”
History of the AR-15
These rifles are based on the AR-15 platform developed in 1956 by the ArmaLite company. The letters “AR”, contrary to what one might think, do not represent “assault rifle” or Assault Rifle (AR); the actual meaning is a short way of writing or saying “ArmaLite Rifle”, or ArmaLite Rifle. The original ArmaLite AR-15 was a more compact derivative of Eugene Stoner’s AR-10 design.
The ArmaLite AR-15 brought to life the M16 military rifle used by the United States in the Vietnam War and later adopted by the militias of many other nations. The AR-15 platform is the basis for many other variations such as the M4 rifles and the Navy’s designated sniper rifle, the Mark 12.
The AR-15 platform is one of the most popular in the United States and various parts of the world due to its modular design, since, generally, parts from different manufacturers can be used after they are designed for AR-15 rifles. Rifles are easy to maintain and replacement parts are available even at stores like Wal-Mart or stores that sell sports equipment.
These rifles typically fire the standard NATO cartridge, 5.56x45mm, or the similar caliber .223 Remington. However, there are variants that can fire 7.62x39mm, 9x19mm Parabellum and other calibers.
proposed a ban
The hearing coincides with efforts by House Democrats to pass an initiative that would ban certain semi-automatic weapons. It’s lawmakers’ most ambitious response to date to the spate of shootings in recent months.
While AR-15s aren’t necessarily primarily responsible for overall gun violence in the United States, their design allows the shooter to hurt more people from a greater distance, said Kelly Sampson, director of racial justice for Brady. , a group that advocates an end to gun violence and is often in favor of restrictions.
“If we renew the assault weapons ban, it would remove a critical piece that allows attackers to kill more people in less time without having to stop to load their weapons,” he said.
There have been 15 massacres in the United States this year, according to the Associated Press/USA TODAY/Northeastern University Massacre Database. According to that investigation, these incidents have left 86 dead and 63 injured. Firearms were used in all of these events, and AR-15-type rifles were involved in at least seven of them. A massacre is defined as an incident in which at least four people are killed.